Help Rachelle Renaud Go For Gold

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Rachelle Renaud

Paralympic Hopeful Needs Your Support

Rachelle Renaud competed in her first track meet at age 14 at the National Sports Festival for Athletes with Disabilities held in June 2001. There she won 5 gold medals and 1 silver. Since that time, she has been the #1 ranked female track and field athlete in her disability class in the United States—setting numerous junior and adult US national records in the 100m sprint, 200m sprint, long jump, shot put and discus.

This early success catapulted Rachelle into the midst of elite level disability sports, with a goal of someday making the US Paralympic Team. Her dream came true sooner than anticipated when she earned a slot on the US Paralympic team that competed in Lille, France at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) 2002 World Athletics Championship—at the age of 15.

Motivated by her experience in Lille, Rachelle set her sights on the 2004 Athens Paralympics. In January 2004, Rachelle met Paralympic "A" standard for her disability classification standard in the 100m sprint. This performance put her on the US Paralympic National Team and in strong contention for an Athens Paralympic team slot, at only 17 years of age. Though it was anticipated all that year that she would make the US team, it was not to be the case, as US Paralympic Track & Field was awarded 8 fewer athlete slots than originally expected. When all disability track/field athletes, men and women in all events and all disability groups, were rank ordered based on their best performance compared to their specific "A" standard, with 8 fewer slots, Rachelle missed the cut, despite qualifying for the team.

Undaunted by her Athens disappointment, Rachelle has continued to train and compete. She has competed as member of her high school track team for the past three years, earning a varsity letter and jacket.

In early July 2005, Rachelle competed as a member of Team USA at the 2005 Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA) World Championships. Nearly 1,000 athletes from 36 countries competed in this multi-sport event, which was held June 27 - July 11 in New London, Connecticut. Of the 20 medals won in track and field by the 45-member USA Team, Rachelle earned 4 of them. Rachelle took the gold medal in the long jump with a leap that is expected to move her to the #1 position in the world for her disability classification in this event. She won a silver medal in the 100m, nudged out of first place at the finish line by Oksana Krechunyak, the athlete from the Ukraine who won the gold medal in the 100m at the 2004 Athens Paralympics. Rachelle also won bronze medals in the 200m sprint and the shot put during the 4 days of track and field competition. Earlier that week, Rachelle also competed in table tennis against top ranked players from the Ukraine and Russia. Rachelle was the only female player for the US table-tennis team at the competition.

In mid-July 2005, Rachelle competed at the 2005 National Junior Disability Championship, held in Tampa, Florida, as a member of the BlazeSports Tampa Bay Disability Team. Rachelle competed in the 100m, shot put, discus, and long jump—and set new national junior records in the shot put and long jump.

In 2006, Rachelle trained at the Olympic Training center in Chula Vista, CA with the head sprint coach Jouquin Cruz, a gold medalist in the 800m. She completed in the U.S. Paralympic National Championship in Atlanta, GA in July. coming in 1st in the 200m and 2nd in the 100m. She then went on to complete as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Track and Field Team that competed at the I.P.C. World Athletics Championship in Assen, Netherlands in September, 2006.

In 2007, Rachelle competed at U.S. Paralympic National Championship in Atlanta, GA in early July, winning a gold medal in javelin, a silver in shot put, and a silver in the 100m. She went on to compete at Canadian Nationals in mid-July, coming in 1st in the shot put and 2nd in the 100m. Based on these results, Rachelle was named to the US Paralympic Track & Field Team that competed at the Para-Pan Am Games in Rio in Brazil in 2007, winning a bronze in the 100m.

For 2008, Rachelle is competing on her college NCAA II tennis team in the spring. However, she continues to train in track and field with the hope of making the US Paralympic Track & Field Team that will compete at the Paralympic Games in China in September 2008.

Rachelle remains one of the top ranked CP7/T37/F37 female track and field athletes in the US, and is the only known player with cerebral palsy to have ever earned a state ranking in U.S.T.A. (United States Tennis Association) able-bodied junior tournament tennis. She made her high school tennis team as a freshman, but chose to run high school track instead, in the hope of qualifying for the Athens Paralympics.


Rachelle running at the 2003 National Sports Festival for Athletes with Disabilities

*CP7 Classification: cerebral palsy, ambulatory hemiplegic.

For additional information on classifications for athletes with cerebral palsy, brain injury, or survivors of stroke; go to NDSA Classifications.